Great performances

These are the best days enjoyed by big-league batters in 2021

Jesse Winker posted the best numbers of his career on May 21. The Reds left fielder led off the first inning against the Brewers with a single, homered in the third and fifth, walked in the sixth, then went deep again in the eighth.

His massive output — 14 bases in five plate appearances — propelled Cincinnati to an easy 9-4 victory.

Four months have passed, and nobody has been able to match Winker’s exceptional performance. It stands not only as the pinnacle of his season, but as the greatest day enjoyed by any big-league batter in 2021.

How did I figure that?

I counted each batter’s bases, beginning with those reached through hits — one for a single, two for a double, and so on. Then I added walks, hit batsmen, stolen bases, sacrifice hits, and sacrifice bunts. (The latter two were included because they net bases for the team.)

Look below for breakdowns of this season’s 10 outstanding performances at the plate (through September 15). At the very bottom is a team-by-team rundown of single-game leaders.

My rankings are powered by bases, but not by bases alone. Any deadlocks in the standings are busted by a descending series of tiebreakers — fewest outs; then most scoring (SC), as determined by this formula: R + RBI - HR; then fewest plate appearances (PA); then most hits.

Ninety-eight batters have piled up at least 10 bases in a single game this year, representing every team but the Athletics. The Padres have enjoyed the largest number of these superhuman performances — seven in all — followed by the Nationals, Rays, Reds, and Twins with six apiece.

San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. is the individual leader. His base count reached double digits in four separate games this year. Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins is the lone runner-up, totaling at least 10 bases in three contests. They’re followed by 11 batters who produced two outstanding games apiece.

The standout in that latter group is Jesse Winker, the only batter to occupy two slots in the top 10. You’ll find him in sixth place as well as first, thanks to his 13-base bombardment of the Cardinals on June 6.


Subscribe — free — to Baseball’s Best (and Worst)

A new installment will arrive in your email each Tuesday and Friday morning


1. Jesse Winker

  • Setting: Reds vs. Brewers on May 21

  • Output: 14 bases and 0 outs

  • Other stats: 4 SC, 5 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B, 3 HR, 1 BB

  • Result for Reds: Win (9-4)

2. Luis Urias

  • Setting: Brewers vs. Cubs on August 12

  • Output: 14 bases and 1 out

  • Other stats: 8 SC, 6 PA, 5 H

  • Base breakdown: 3 2B, 2 HR

  • Result for Brewers: Win (17-4)

3. Ryan McMahon

  • Setting: Rockies vs. Diamondbacks on April 6

  • Output: 14 bases and 2 outs

  • Other stats: 4 SC, 6 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 2B, 3 HR

  • Result for Rockies: Loss (8-10)

4. Seby Zavala

  • Setting: White Sox vs. Indians on July 31

  • Output: 13 bases and 0 outs

  • Other stats: 7 SC, 4 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B, 3 HR

  • Result for White Sox: Loss (11-12)

5. Ryan Mountcastle

  • Setting: Orioles vs. Blue Jays on June 19

  • Output: 13 bases and 0 outs

  • Other stats: 4 SC, 4 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B, 3 HR

  • Result for Orioles: Loss (7-10)

6. Jesse Winker

  • Setting: Reds vs. Cardinals on June 6

  • Output: 13 bases and 1 out

  • Other stats: 6 SC, 5 PA, 3 H

  • Base breakdown: 3 HR, 1 BB

  • Result for Reds: Win (8-7)

7. Rafael Ortega

  • Setting: Cubs vs. Nationals on August 1

  • Output: 13 bases and 1 out

  • Other stats: 5 SC, 4 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B (1 CS), 3 HR

  • Result for Cubs: Loss (5-6)

8. Fernando Tatis Jr.

  • Setting: Padres vs. Diamondbacks on June 25

  • Output: 13 bases and 1 out

  • Other stats: 5 SC, 5 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B, 3 HR

  • Result for Padres: Win (11-5)

9. Francisco Lindor

  • Setting: Mets vs. Yankees on September 12

  • Output: 13 bases and 1 out

  • Other stats: 5 SC, 5 PA, 3 H

  • Base breakdown: 3 HR, 1 BB

  • Result for Mets: Win (7-6)

10. J.D. Martinez

  • Setting: Red Sox vs. Orioles on April 11

  • Output: 13 bases and 2 outs

  • Other stats: 5 SC, 6 PA, 4 H

  • Base breakdown: 1 1B, 3 HR

  • Result for Red Sox: Win (14-9)

Team leaders

  • Angels: Jared Walsh (vs. Mariners on May 1), 11 bases and 0 outs

  • Astros: Yordan Alvarez (vs. Athletics on July 6), 10 bases and 0 outs

  • Athletics: Matt Olson (vs. Twins on April 21), 9 bases and 3 outs

  • Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (vs. Nationals on April 27), 12 bases and 2 outs

  • Braves: Ozzie Albies (vs. Mets on June 30), 12 bases and 2 outs

  • Brewers: Luis Urias (vs. Cubs on August 12), 14 bases and 1 out

  • Cardinals: Yadier Molina (vs. Phillies on April 17), 10 bases and 2 outs

  • Cubs: Rafael Ortega (vs. Nationals on August 1), 13 bases and 1 out

  • Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho (vs. Rockies on August 22), 10 bases and 1 out

  • Dodgers: AJ Pollock (vs. Diamondbacks on July 10), 12 bases and 0 outs

  • Giants: Wilmer Flores (vs. Phillies on June 20), 10 bases and 0 outs

  • Indians: Amed Rosario (vs. Royals on August 31), 11 bases and 0 outs

  • Mariners: Kyle Seager (vs. Twins on April 11), 11 bases and 0 outs

  • Marlins: Adam Duvall (vs. Braves on April 13), 11 bases and 1 out

  • Mets: Francisco Lindor (vs. Yankees on September 12), 13 bases and 1 out

  • Nationals: Trea Turner (vs. Rays on June 30), 12 bases and 0 outs

  • Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle (vs. Blue Jays on June 19), 13 bases and 0 outs

  • Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. (vs. Diamondbacks on June 25), 13 bases and 1 out

  • Phillies: Brad Miller (vs. Cubs on July 8), 12 bases and 2 outs

  • Pirates: Ben Gamel (vs. Braves on July 5), 10 bases and 2 outs

  • Rangers: DJ Peters (vs. Angels on September 5), 11 bases and 1 out

  • Rays: Nelson Cruz (vs. Red Sox on September 7), 11 bases and 1 out

  • Red Sox: J.D. Martinez (vs. Orioles on April 11), 13 bases and 2 outs

  • Reds: Jesse Winker (vs. Brewers on May 21), 14 bases and 0 outs

  • Rockies: Ryan McMahon (vs. Diamondbacks on April 6), 14 bases and 2 outs

  • Royals: Andrew Benintendi (vs. Twins on September 10), 10 bases and 1 out

  • Tigers: Jonathan Schoop (vs. White Sox on June 4), 12 bases and 0 outs

  • Twins: Miguel Sano (vs. White Sox on May 18), 12 bases and 1 out

  • White Sox: Seby Zavala (vs. Indians on July 31), 13 bases and 0 outs

  • Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton (vs. Twins on June 9), 10 bases and 2 outs